PEACE ENVOY WANTS AQUACULTURE TO HELP WAR ON HUNGER
* Kofi Annan backs fish farms to help tackle hunger
* Major role for aquaculture in fighting food shortage
* Scots firm at forefront of scientific breakthroughs
Genetic advances in aquaculture can help efforts backed by UN peace envoy Kofi Annan to tackle world hunger, according to a leading Scots firm.
Landcatch Natural Selection, based in Argyll, is pioneering breeding techniques in farmed fish and believes continuous scientific advances are needed to address food shortages caused by climate change.
Landcatch is part of the global Hendrix Genetics multi-species food production organisation whose mission is to help the world meet its food needs through innovative and sustainable genetic techniques.
Senior executives representing all divisions within the Hendrix Genetics group of companies will hear at a Paris summit which starts tomorrow (6 September) that this approach is now needed more than ever. The summit comes at a time when dire predictions for world fish stocks from agencies including the United Nations have been made and a direct call to action made recently to the aquaculture industry by Mr Annan, the former UN Secretary General.
His appeal at the 2012 Aquavision industry conference echoed United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) findings that wild fish supplies will plummet as the world heats up, posing a particular threat to some three billion people dependent on seafood and destroying related employment for millions.
Hundreds of delegates from 33 countries heard that the potential impacts of climate change required more attention to increase future productivity. Mr Annan, who set up the Kofi Annan Foundation to promote global sustainability, stressed aquaculture’s strong potential to contribute to reducing world hunger.
He told the conference: “I do no ask you to change direction, but I ask you to accelerate progress. We need to work together if we are to overcome world hunger.”
The Paris summit on 6-7 September will bring together senior marketing executives from Hendrix Genetics’ companies around the world.
Neil Manchester, general manager of Landcatch, who will address the Paris meeting, heard Mr Annan’s Aquavision address first hand.
He said: “Mr Annan’s call for action by our industry was well argued and timely as we clearly need to continue improving aquacultural science and efficiency if we are to help meet world hunger challenges, especially during these changing economic and climatic times.
“I will be highlighting this message to our executives as we continue to push boundaries in innovation and sustainability to meet demands for food, and to show them our work is vital globally.”
Mr Manchester, who is based in Ormsary in Argyll, said Landcatch has already led worldwide advances in resistance to sea lice and viral diseases such as IPN (Infectious Pancreatic Necrosis) and PD (Pancreas Disease) and added: “We are working with academic, commercial and other partners to further enhance fish farmers’ efficiency and ability to supply sustainable and wholesome food worldwide.”
Landcatch supplies genetic services and Atlantic salmon eggs and smolts to aquaculture companies around the world. It combines state-of-the-art genomic tools with the traditional values of pedigree breeding, high welfare and husbandry to breed Atlantic salmon for balanced improvement in growth, robustness and feed efficiency and to develop strains of salmon which can perform to ever higher levels at every stage of production from eggs to adult fish.
Aquaculture has been described as the world’s fastest growing food production system, growing at seven per cent annually.
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